Mobility aids are incredibly helpful for individuals with moderate to severe mobility disabilities who require assistance in getting around. It’s important to remember that there is no universal solution when it comes to mobility devices. Depending on their specific needs and level of mobility, users can benefit from a variety of mobility aids.
Choosing the right mobility device for your elderly loved one can be challenging due to the wide range of options available in the market. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most common types of mobility aids and their functions to assist you in finding the most suitable device for your senior family member.
Mobility Devices for Ambulatory Seniors
Ambulatory devices are ideal for seniors who require minimal assistance with mobility. These devices are specifically designed to provide support to the body, alleviating some of the strain on the legs and feet, which in turn enhances balance and stability. Here are a few examples of commonly used ambulatory devices:
Canes offer support for seniors who are less steady on their feet. They come in different sizes and shapes and are relatively the cheapest of all mobility devices. Types include standard canes, quad canes, folding canes, white canes (for visually impaired users only).
Walkers are often used if the cane cannot provide sufficient support. Typically, a walker requires moderate hand and arm strength but may be able to support up to 50 percent of a senior’s body weight depending on the type of walker used.
Commonly called wheeled walkers, rollators are easier to maneuver and a more suitable option for seniors who do not have the strength to use a walker or a cane.
Mobility Devices for Seniors Unable to Walk
Seniors with limited lower limb strength or severe disabilities may find that walking devices are insufficient to meet their support needs. Here are some excellent alternative mobility devices for seniors who are unable to walk:
These can either be manually maneuvered by the user, pushed by someone else, or electrically powered. Wheelchairs can also be categorized by their functions— examples include, heavy-duty wheelchairs which are designed for overweight seniors, and lightweight wheelchairs which are convenient for traveling.
These are recommended for seniors with limited upper body strength that prevents them from using a manual wheelchair. This device has handlebars or steering wheels to help seniors control the direction easily. Mobility scooters operate just like a motorcycle and come in different functional designs. There are scooters designed for indoor use and heavy-duty models intended for outdoor use and carrying heavy loads.
Mobility Devices for Safety Modifications
To support seniors in maintaining a sense of independence and mobility within their own homes, certain safety modifications are necessary to assist them throughout the day. Here are two commonly recommended home modifications that you can consider for your elderly loved one.
Having a stairlift at home is extremely beneficial for seniors who need help going up and down the stairs.
Handrails are special devices that can be installed in different areas in the house like in the bathroom and room entrances to assist seniors in going from one place to another. Handrails also help reduce the risk of falls and slips.
Fall prevention devices
Other fall prevention devices for seniors are fall mats that can be placed by the bedside; safety bed rails to help prevent falling out of bed; fall monitoring alarms to alert family members and caregivers of unassisted bed or chair movement.
The Bottom Line
The devices and tips mentioned in our lists are designed to assist you in making an informed decision when searching for the most appropriate mobility aid for your elderly loved one. However, it is advisable to consult with a doctor or physical therapist before making a purchase, as they can provide accurate recommendations based on your loved one’s specific needs and preferences.